Hastings, NE -
Going, going, gone - demolition crews have been pulling down the old science hall at Hastings College, but it’s not the only part of campus under construction this summer. The old three-story science building is now a pile of rubble being carted away. “The Steinhart Hall of Science had a long happy history here at Hastings College, but it had been vacant since 2009, since we built the new Morrison-Reeves Science Center,” says Matt Fong, Hastings College chief of staff. The college plans for green space to occupy the building’s footprint now. Fong says they’re still in talks with the Hastings City Council, but have no plans in the works for closing the part of Ninth Street that runs through campus adjacent to the Steinhart site.
“We don’t actually need another building at this point, so just having the additional green space will be nice, and not having an empty building, a vacant building right in the middle of your campus will be really nice,” he says. Officials say just as the new science center was built with high-performance energy saving features, the old hall is doing its part to be “green” too. “They actually recycle or reuse about 95 percent of the building that they’re tearing down, so all the metal will be recycled, the concrete and everything will be crushed up and reused,” says Fong. And there’s more campus construction going on behind closed doors. Renovations totaling $6 million are underway in three residence halls - Bronc (men), Babcock (women), and Taylor (women). New paint, carpet, furniture, and heating and cooling systems are all on the agenda. “Not only are we improving the efficiency of the AC/AV system, but we’re also improving the quality experience of students because they’re able to control their room temperatures as well,” says Dr. Gilbert Hinga, vice president for Student Affairs and the dean of students. Hinga says upgraded rooms and study lounges are not just meant as a luxury because students actually spend most of their time in those areas. “When you have students who have an improved experience on campus in the residence halls, what that means is that they’re more likely to stay on campus and engage with the other students as well,” says Hinga. Hinga says the college looked at totally replacing the dorms undergoing the most renovations, but found the upgrades to be more cost effective.